Saturday, March 19, 2011

Stupid rubber contacts

I'm a bit disillusioned about the whole 'rubber contacts are awesome' thing.  This weekend my boys and I had our first trial in over a month.  I was looking forward to it, but mother nature decided that she didn't approve, we had some pretty gross weather today.  It didn't look so bad when I left home, but about half way there it started pouring and didn't stop until I about an hour after I arrived.  The ground didn't LOOK bad.  When you took a step you thought your foot would land in dewey grass, but it actually landed almost ankle deep in water. 

We had standard first and I felt the contacts as I was walking the course.  They were rubber, but they felt a bit slick to me.  But they're rubber so they're awesome, right??  Apollo went first, getting his 2nd Exc A Standard leg in preferred.  No problems with the contacts.  Then Rammy went next and did well aside from a tunnel refusal (which I turned into an off-course).  No problem with the contacts.  But when Icon went he had a wipe-out on the downside of the aframe and then almost fell off the dogwalk but saved himself. 

So why the hell am I boycotting trials without rubber contacts?  Are rubber contacts any safer?  Today I felt that a good sanded wood contact would have had significantly more traction for in this weather.  Argh.

All three boys qualified in JWW so while it was a miserable day weather-wise it was a good day Q-wise missing only Rammy's Std for Q's. 

The trial for tomorrow is cancelled due to weather and next weekend is in doubt too because the weathermen are forcasting rain for eternity. I would like to get some ring time in before nationals if possible but if not... c'est la vie!


  1. Is there one type of rubber contact or several types of surfaces? Cinder has run on rubber contacts but only inside a building (no rain). Our club was discussing rubberizing our contacts, mainly for better grip in rainy weather. Our summer training area is outside.

    -Joan and Cinder

  2. It really depends on how the rubber is applied. Too much glue can certainly make them hard and slippery. There has been a lot of trial and error up here in the PNW. I have a student who has an amazing method of applying it.

    Coming from land o' rain, I prefer the rubber contacts. Especially now that we have it all worked out.

  3. I'm sure some rubber surfaces must be better than others, but physics tells us that in colder weather rubber will get harder and provide less traction. So maybe it was because it was cold (cold for CA anyway...) and wet that the surface was so slippy. Icon was the only dog that seemed to have an issue with it too, I'm not sure what that means!

  4. Rain makes all things slippery. And like Tammy said it really depends on how the rubber was applied. I have well sanded contacts at home and they are mighty slippery in the rain so I never train on them when they are wet, but then I probably wouldn't train on rubber when it is really wet either. I have started staying home from rainy day trials, just not worth risking injury, but then our only outdoor trials are during the summer. Glad you boys had a good day in spite of the crappy weather!

  5. Hmm, this is really interesting to hear - obviously living in the UK, 99% of our competitions are outdoor in the rain, or indoor in the freezing cold! Rubber contacts haven't really made it over here yet but it sounds like it's going to be interesting when they do.